Experiments in felt, success and disaster!

Yesterday afternoon I called over to Carmen’s house to see how her new studio is progressing.  Her partner Peter has spent the last couple of weeks working almost full time on this shed conversion and I must say that the results look great!  This was a modern barn with open sides and no concrete floor, now it is a beautiful cladded building with 4 huge windows, a wooden stable style door, shelving, electricity, water and plenty of wall and display space.  Peter is now making metal topped tables and then Carmen is all set to go, the only thing that will be left to do is landscape the outside a little bit!  Anyway, I toured the studio and then we had a great lunch of fish soup followed by fresh fish and veg.  I had said to Carmen that I would help with some organising and tidying up in the studio but since Peter was working on the tables we decided to experiment a little with some more felted jewellery.  I showed Carmen how I made the blue felt rings and then I tried making a ring by felting around a large glass mosaic bead.  this actually worked out very well although you do need a big hand for the ring to look totally in proportion!  When I got home I decided to use the same method of trapping the glass but this time surrounding a marble.  This ring also worked well but again I would like to have a little less wool surrounding the glass and therefore end up with a slightly smaller ring.  I am going to take some pictures later today and hope to get them online tomorrow or even this evening.  Let me know if any of you have and ideas, maybe I just need to start with a smaller marble to get a finer end result.

My felting disaster is another thing altogether!  Carmen got a new book for her birthday and one of the projects was felting around a ball.  Now I know that many of you have done this before using Beth Beede’s method but I have always prefered starting any of my 3 dimensional work using a flat resist.  Anyway, I decided to give the ball method a go and try to make the fruit bowl as demonstrated in the book.  I didn’t have any elastic bandage to wrap around the wool wrapped ball so decided to go for Beth’s method of using cut off tights, a VERY difficult manouver if you are working by yourself.  My colour scheme was a big success, shades of red and maroon with some orange highlights, red muslin (felted in beautifully) and some gorgeous silk in shades of maroon and wine.  My bowl decided that it would like to become a hat and after I had shaped it on my hat block I realised (as this was actually the first time that I had used the block) that it would be HUGE on my head.  Now I am back to the stage of having a fruit bowl or deciding whether to cut up the felt or punch into it and create some jewellery.  Ah well, another day another hat, I really need a lesson in how to make a proper and comfortable but most importantly wearable hat!!


2 thoughts on “Experiments in felt, success and disaster!

  1. Good morning Nicola,

    I hope that you post a picture of your fruit bowl/possible hat later (you may have already done so)…Can’t wait to see it! As far as the sizing, I generally have just the opposite problem, in that by the time I’m done with all the fulling, I sometimes end up with a hat too small for my dog! Now, like I said I haven’t seen your piece, as yet, but I do have a coule of suggestions if you want to turn it into a hat, that might work. Do you have a washboard? That is my best method of shrinking things down to size and I have to be careful not to work it for too long, as the felt does shrink while drying, too. Also, if a piece is really large, I whack it on my counter top, holding onto the top of the hat and whacking the edges. This will greatly increase the shrinkage, so be careful that it doesn’t become dog apparel (don’t know about your dog, but mine prefers to be unencumbered by apparel of any sort!) Let me know the outcome.

    Take care,

  2. Hi again, couldn’t believe you weren’t shortlisted for the award, (between you and me I didn’t think economy.ie should have won, they have 21 writers!) I’d have given it to x-box, but them judges know nowt!
    Better luck next time!

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